Four women who are part of a syndicate allegedly involved in abducting children have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command.
The Lagos State Police Command headquarters in Ikeja on Tuesday paraded one 50-year-old grandmother identified as Rita Eze, sixty-year-old Ogochi Nwekei and 28-year-old Gladys Augustine who all confessed to being part of a plan that abducted a three-year-old, Oluwasemilore Adebiyi, from her parents’ residence in the Alagbado area of Lagos.
As part of the plans to abduct the little girl, Augustine disguised with the name Mary John, enrolled for a beads-making apprenticeship at Oluwasemilore’s mother’s shop in January but fled to Anambra with the girl seven days after in collaboration with a certain Samuel who is still at large.
PUNCH reports that the little girl was handed over to Madam Eze who confessed to selling her to one Elizabeth through Nwekei, for N500,000.
Thankfully, Oluwasemilore was, however, recovered by the police after Augustine was arrested in the Badagry area of Lagos on February 23.
In defense, Augustine claimed that Samuel had lied to her that he and Oluwasemilore’s mother, Tobiloba Adebiyi, gave birth to the girl, but she (Tobiloba) denied him access to the girl.
She said that Samuel introduced Eze to her as his mother and promised her N50,000 if the plan worked out. Hear her:
“I came to Lagos in 2010 and I worked as a housemaid. I used the money I got to open a shop. Eventually, I was sent away from the shop and I needed money to start another business. I met Samuel at Mowo bus stop in Badagry in January.
“He said he impregnated a woman and the woman (Tobiloba) left him to marry another man. He said he wanted to get back the child, but the woman refused. He asked me to work for the woman in order to snatch the child and he promised to give me N50,000. On the day I snatched the girl, I took her to a bus stop and bought her a snack.
“When I took the girl to Samuel, he said I should take her to his mother, Mrs. Eze, in Anambra. He said he would tell the girl’s mother that he was the one who took her. I later returned to Lagos, thinking he had told the woman. I was surprised when the police arrested me.”
On her part, grandma Eze, said she took N40,000 from the proceeds, gave Augustine N60,000 and sent the remaining sum to Samuel. She added that she used the money to pay the rent on her apartment. She said:
“I met Samuel in December 2016 at a party in Awka through a secondary school friend, who is an aunt to him. He told me that he impregnated a woman in Lagos and that he would send the child to me to help take care of her. When Gladys (Augustine) brought the girl, Samuel told me to sell her for N500,000.
“I informed Ogochi (Nwekei) and she said one of her friends, Elizabeth, wanted to buy a child. Elizabeth paid N500,000. Samuel told me to give Augustine N50,000 and another N10,000 for her transport back to Lagos, while I got N40,000. I sent the remaining N400,000 to Samuel. I used the money to pay my house rent. I have five children and grandchildren.”
Nwekei said she only facilitated the sale of the girl, claiming that she did not receive anything from the money.
“I told Rita (Eze) that a friend, Elizabeth, wanted to adopt a child and she promised to call me whenever she got one. One day, she called me that a child was brought to her. I asked her whether there would not be any problem and she assured me that there would be none. I didn’t know it would turn out this way,” she said.
Interestingly, some other parents from different parts of the state had stormed the command and identified Augustine as the abductor of their children, saying the suspect adopted the same gimmick with which Oluwasemilore was abducted.
Some of Augustine’s victims who are yet to be found include, four-year-old Farouk and his six-year-old sister, Kafayat, who were allegedly abducted in the Okokomaiko area in November 2016. However, Augustine denied abducting the kids, claiming that Oluwasemilore was her first abduction.